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John Rylands Library and Attached Railings, Gates and Lamp Standards`, Manchester

Description: John Rylands Library and Attached Railings, Gates and Lamp Standards`

Grade: I
Date Listed: 25 January 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 388101

OS Grid Reference: SJ8356898213
OS Grid Coordinates: 383568, 398213
Latitude/Longitude: 53.4804, -2.2491

Location: 24 Wood Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M3 2RP

Locality: Manchester
County: Manchester
Country: England
Postcode: M3 2RP

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Listing Text


698-1/27/118 (West side)
25/01/52 John Rylands Library and attached
railings, gates and lamp standards
(Formerly Listed as:
Rylands Library)


Library. 1890-99, by Basil Champneys, for Enriqueta Augustina
Rylands in memory of her husband; with back extension 1912,
also by Champneys. Red sandstone (roof not visible).
Rectangular plan at right-angles to street, plus back
extensions. Decorated Gothic style with Arts and Crafts
accent. Two unequal storeys with the appearance of 3 storeys,
designed like a church raised on a crypt, the facade composed
of a 2-storey 3-bay centre (like the gatehouse of a monastery)
flanked by square 2-storey 2-bay wings, with an embattled
parapet to the whole and large octagonal lanterns over the
wings; and, set back behind these, the east window of the
reading hall flanked by square towers. The centre has very
elaborate Gothic decoration throughout, including a 2-centred
arched portal containing coupled doorways with a trumeau, a
tall 2-light window each side, 2 small canted oriels above the
portal, lacy blind tracery on all surfaces enriched with
finely-detailed carving, and open-work aracading in the
battlements; and the set-back 3-light east window of the hall
has delicate reticulated tracery and shafts carried up to a
similar open-work parapet. The walls of the wings and the
towers, by contrast, are plain except for string courses
enriched with grotesques: the wing to the left has tall
transomed staircase windows at 1st floor with staggered sills,
and low segmental-headed windows below these, that to the
right has tall windows at ground floor and short ones above,
and both have octagonal corner turrets with flying buttresses
thrown back to the octagonal lanterns. The lanterns have
transomed 2-light windows, blind tracery and open-work
battlements like those of the centre, and the towers behind
them have slender octagonal corner turrets and small 2-light
windows above the level of the octagons. Return sides in
similar style. Fine bronze forecourt railings with central
double gates flanked by lamp standards, all in Art Nouveau
style. Interior: very fine vaulted entrance hall and winding
vaulted staircase; church-like reading hall with much
elaborate decoration, including traceried arcades, rib-vaulted
ceiling, panelled reading alcoves with oriel windows, statues
of John Rylands and Mrs Rylands, etc. History: built to house
the theological library of John Rylands (leading textile
manufacturer and philanthropist), subsequently augmented by
purchase of other collections, and now one of the finest in
the country.

Listing NGR: SJ8356898213

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.